A couple days ago I wrote about how to remove a judgment on your credit report.
But what if, after doing the strategy I laid out (or if you've already repeatedly disputed it to the point where the credit bureaus refuse to investigate it again), it still doesn't come off your credit reports?
Here's a little nugget of information:
By the time a creditor (in the case of my example, Capital One) puts a judgment on your credit report, 2 things have happened:
1) They've put a lot of time, effort, money, and hassle into attempting to collect from you whereas they felt their final recourse was a judgment.
2) They don't really expect to receive any money from you since it's reached this point of time and expense on their part; threatening legal action against you apparently has never gotten to you and to them you're considered a "lost cause."
Knowing this information gives you a powerful advantage when you do want to have the judgment removed off your credit. This gives you what I call "bargaining power" since they completely wrote you off at this point anyway.
Now, a couple of things I should mention:
1) A judgment typically remains on your credit report anywhere from 7 to 10 years. If you're already "deep" into having the judgment on your credit report (i.e. it's been there for 6 years, say) then do nothing. Just "wait it out" and let it fall off. If it doesn't fall off at the 7-year mark, dispute it. From my experience, the only thing that stays on a credit report for 10 years is a bankruptcy.
2) If you're not deep on the judgment and it just happened, as in Ronnie's case, and you want to clean up your credit to raise your FICO to get your business credit rolling so you can start tapping into significant lines of credit then you're going to want to consider negotiating to get that judgment off.
Only you know if you fall into #1 or #2 above with the judgment(s) in question.
Now, before you consider picking up the phone to negotiate anything (since you don't want to send them a letter), you will need to know 2 things:
1) How much is the judgment?
2) How much can you pay to satisfy the judgment? (This can be as little as 5% or 10% of the amount owed so don't think it has to be half or more.)
There's a little-known secret called "Pay to Delete." This essentially means that you will call your creditor and make an arrangement to where they will accept a smaller "settlement" amount on your debt. In return, they will delete the account off your credit report as if it never existed.
Most creditors will deny they can do this. They will state that legally they cannot completely delete an account but that they can update your account as "paid." Don't let them fool you. They can, in fact, delete an account if you pay an agreed settlement amount. Don't fall for an "updated" yet "paid" status because it will still show that you had a delinquent account even though it's paid.
You are aiming for a complete delete. You need to be forceful and stern, letting your creditor know that since you already took the hit on your credit report with the delinquency or judgment, they can't do any more damage to your credit so they need to choose if they want a small settlement amount for a deletion...or not. It's their choice.
If they choose to delete the account when you pay a small fraction of what is owed, this needs to be in writing on their letterhead before you will pay them a single cent.
Also, many times after you make the payment, they won't delete the account or live up to their agreement (or they will be very slow with updating your account). However, that's okay. Once you have their agreement in writing and your cashed check, simply send those documents over to the credit reporting bureau and the account will be immediately deleted. Case closed.
What if your creditor won't agree to a "pay to delete" arrangement?
There is one last thing you can do to have a delinquency or judgment permanently removed.
And I'll tell you more about it in a couple of days!
See you at the top!
.S. On a personal note, today's my mom's birthday. She'd be 61 today had she survived brain cancer. Happy Birthday, Mom! I miss you so much!